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It's gone! 2020 has gone. And so has much else. Original planned operation date – gone. Travel plans to Sweden – gone. To Spain – gone. To Shropshire – gone. To places that don't even begin with an 'S' – gone. Cycle races – gone. Pedalling to Longnor for Americanos and oatcakes – gone. Masson Mills Shopping Village – gone, although its website is still up as I type.

Opening in 1999 as part of the Masson Mills complex of working textile museum, conference venue, restaurant, etc. it announced its permanent closure at end of October. The Shopping Village was run by the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group which itself went into administration on 19th November. Retail has been hit hard by this pandemic and so too has been the hospitality sector. Just how many pubs won't reopen we can only guess at. There's no doubt that the number of possible subjects for these pages will increase. If the Shopping Village has gone, so too has the Rutland Arms which used to sit across the road from Masson Mills. But it wasn't a pandemic which put paid to this bygone boozer, but another p-word – progress.

Masson Mill and the A6 in December 2020.

If we go back about a century and a quarter the above scene looked like this. The red brick structures, including the square tower had yet to be built. I believe they date from around 1911, and where the bus stop now is used to stand Fairview Terrace, with the Rutland Arms at its northern extremity. Fairview? It might've been originally, but I've a feeling that the quality of its view might have taken a tumble after 1911.

Part of Fairview Terrace and Masson Mill c1900.

An old postcard showing the same lamp post and Fairview Terrace with the Rutland Arms at its end

The pub was built in the 1830s, no doubt spawned by the passing of the 1830 Beerhouse Act. Francis Hoyland was here before moving to the County & Station, but the earliest publican that I've come up with is Henry John Tijou. He's given as being there in the 1842 edition of Pigot's directory and as a victualler at an unnamed establishment in the census of the previous year. As is the case in most things involving the Matlocks, Ann Andrews has managed to beat me and names the first licensee as Annis Hill who preceded Henry. The building adjoining the Rutland Arms was Boston House, here advertising that it provided 'Good Accommodation For Cyclists'. What else would its accommodation be? Would it really advertise that its accommodation was bad, or possibly just average?

Boston House on the left and the Rutland Arms.

Today I can't take up the offer of Boston House's accommodation, or even lean my bike against its wall whilst popping next door for a swift half. Fairview Terrace and the Rutland were flattened in the late 1960s/early 1970s to allow for widening of the A6. I have, however once made use of the bus shelter which now stands in its place whilst waiting to be rescued. A sudden spring snowstorm had forced the abandonment of a club time trial and whilst I sheltered, waiting for a lift, a clubmate set off to pedal the dozen or so miles through the settling white stuff to Chesterfield. I was home in a quarter of an hour and by the time he'd managed to totter home two hours later I'd showered, changed, eaten and was on my second warming glass of single cask Dalmore. I do have to admit, just like the Rutland Arms, that bottle is long gone too.

That's it! My first post of 2021. I raise a glass of citra-laden IPA and wish a Hoppy New Year to one and all. It has to be better than the last one, hasn't it? Please tell me it has.

Chris Allen's image of Masson Mill is copyright and is reused under this license.

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